Love Poem for the Socially Anxious

To the kid in the corner of the party venue breathing asthmatically because you broke your plastic spoon scooping ice cream and the devil incarnate stole your seat to force you to dance and the guy you like is about to leave and you would go talk to him but everyone would be watching you and what would you say you’re an idiot for sitting in the corner and oh God, someone’s looking at you—

To all the socially anxious,

I see you.

I see you drinking lime-lemon juice because the waiter got your order wrong and correcting him would mean another 30 seconds of social interaction, and I see you

talking to your best friend in hushed tones not because you’re gossiping but because you don’t want anyone else to join the conversation.

I see you.

But not in a judgemental way.

Google calls us severely disordered.

I prefer quirky.

Our kindergarten teachers say we’re isolated,

But really they should be proud that at 5, we have already reached the emotional maturity of a 100-year-old Buddhist hermit.

Our parents say we’ll grow out of it, but personality isn’t a shirt size and who we are fits just fine.

The other kids? Well, they’re a little more blunt.

All year they look at us like we’re dying puppies until there’s an intruder drill and the teacher says usually the gunman ends up being a student who’s a little disturbed and isolated and everyone turns around to face us.

But when that happens, don’t worry.

At least no one will ever slam you against your locker again.

 

Sometimes it’ll get a little lonely when no one understands your desire for deeper-than-average connections or your need to hide in a pillow fort and snuggle with the cats for 50 hours straight.

At these times, Kindle, Netflix, and Spotify are your greatest allies.

You will feel everything and you will want to bury it, no, bury yourself in blankets, reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, and the warmth of your tears.

It won’t work.

Trust me, I’ve tried.

But I think

after the sun rises

and lifts us back to our lives,

our sincerity, our human-ness, and the art born of our madness will shine on our faces, making us scarred lights

finding each other in the darkness.

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